New Hope-Solebury shuts door on Pope John Paul II in District 1-AA semifinal

UPPER DUBLIN — After winning its first bout via forfeit, it looked as though Pope John Paul II could have had the edge in their opening round District I Class-AA match against New Hope-Solebury on Saturday afternoon.

But the feeling didn’t last long as the Tigers came out and won the next four matches to take a 21-6 lead and put PJP in a hole it couldn’t escape en route to a 39-33 victory at Upper Dublin High School.

“Unfortunately we were missing two key guys from our lineup which really hurt us today,’ Pope John Paul II head coach Jared Every said. “We had some guys step up and wrestle really well, but it just didn’t go the way we needed it to for us to get our team points.’

PJP (2-9, 6-14) was without sophomore Brendan Rau and freshman Philip Heid due to weight issues, which led the Golden Panthers to shift a few of their matchups.

Senior Vinnie Togno looked to bring PJP back in it with an 8-3 decision over Franco Mannino at 170 followed by a Mike Collins pin at 182 against Mike Manz, which cut New Hope’s lead to just 21-15.

“It felt rewarding,’ said Collins of his thirteenth pin of the season. “I definitely thought the tide of the match would start to turn after that point. I knew we’d be forfeiting the next one, but we had our big guys (Luke Genetti and Danny Murphy) coming up next and we were starting to feel confident.’

But following a PJP forfeit at 195 and decisions from PJP’s Luke Genetti (220) and Danny Murphy (heavyweight), New Hope’s Max Lupisella (106) and Collin Frankhouser (113) registered back-to-back pins that ended the Golden Panthers’ hopes as the Tigers extended their lead to 39-21, allowing them to forfeit the next two matches and take the victory.

“We came out today and fought as hard as we could,’ said Collins. “They just had the upper-hand on us. They had guys where they needed to be, and we didn’t really have an answer. I’m just glad we kept fighting all the way through.’

Genetti and Murphy provided some of the highlights of PJP’s resilience.

Trailing 27-15 entering Genetti’s bout at 220 against New Hope captain Tobia Mintzmyer, the senior overcame a 2-2 tie in the third round to overtake his counterpart, 6-2. It was a win that pleased him, though he admitted he had aimed a bit higher entering the match.

“I just wanted to keep attacking and try to catch him off his guard,’ the senior said. “I had to take whatever he’d give me. There was never really a point in the bout that I felt like either of us had too big of an edge over the other. Overall it was a really close one.

“It definitely felt good to get the win. Going into it, I was really hoping I could pin him and put some more points up. But he was a really tough fight. I just couldn’t find a way to get him on his back.’

Heavyweight senior Danny Murphy won an 8-6 decision over Matt Fest, despite trailing 3-2 after the first round to bring the Golden Panthers deficit to just 27-21.

But with PJP desperate for a pin, or just a decision in order to stay alive, as the lineups turned over to the lightweights, New Hope’s Lupisella (106) and Frankhouser (113) shut the door.

Lupisella pinned PJP’s Cartsen Schlag in 56 seconds while Frankhouser pinned Nick Boyce at 3:20 to put it away, allowing the Tigers to forfeit their next two matches and take the victory.

Despite the disappointing loss, Genetti and the Golden Panthers still have a sense of pride in their season.

“Our coach told us that this is the first time in five years that PJP is shooting for states,’ he said. “So we’re all really proud of that, and we’ll continue working as hard as we can the rest of the way.’

The Golden Panthers won’t have much time to dwell on districts as they face a busy week upcoming against Upper Perkiomen on Monday, Owen J. Roberts on Wednesday, Pottstown on Thursday and a Tri-Meet at Archbishop Carroll on Saturday.

“We just need to keep practicing hard and keep fighting hard in every match,’ said Every. “These guys have put in a lot of hard work this season, and I’m proud of the way they have competed.’

NOTES — Pope John Paul II’s Nick Yerger (132), Nate Aldinger (120), and Dylan Mintzer (126) all won by forfeit. The Golden Panthers also forfeited three rounds of their own at 152, 160 and 195.

——— Results ————

132-Nick Yerger (PJP) won by forfeit (0-6)

138-Chris Thompson (NH) dec. Dave Mattiola, 13-8 (3-6)

145-Nathan Wilson (NH) pinned Matthew Wheatley, 3:27 (9-6)

152-Russell Abernethy (NH) won by forfeit (15-6)

160-Igor Lupisella (NH) won by forfeit (21-6)

170-Vinnie Togno (PJP) dec. Franco Mannino, 8-3 (21-9)

182-Michael Collins (PJP) pinned Michael Manz, 1:27 (21-15)

195-Brandon Smith (NH) won by forfeit (27-15)

220-Luke Genetti (PJP) dec. Tobias Mintzmyer, 6-2 (27-18)

285-Daniel Murphy (PJP) dec. Matthew Fest, 8-6 (27-21)

106-Max Lupisella (NH) pinned Carsten Schlag, 0:56 (33-21)

113-Collin Frankhouser (NH) pinned Nick Boyce, 3:20 (39-21)

120-Nate Aldinger (PJP) won by forfeit (39-27)

126-Dylan Mintzer (PJP) won by forfeit (39-33)

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